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May 13, 2013

Drying, Chopping, & Storing Fresh Parsley

A few weeks ago I shared a very useful method for preserving parsley by freezing it in "logs". I've since used some of my frozen parsley, and I'm very happy with the turnout. The frozen parsley had a nice strong flavor that added a pleasant kick to my Crowd-Pleasing Italian Meat Sauce

I also wanted to try an alternative method for preserving herbs, which is drying them.


Drying herbs takes a significantly longer amount of time to get from start to finish if you're using the traditional air-drying method, which is what I used. (The other option would be to quick-dry the herbs in the oven. I haven't braved that territory yet.)

I used the 'ole "hang your parsley bunch by the string on the kitchen blinds" method.  They added a a touch of style to our kitchen for a couple of weeks.
The first step to preserving any herb is, of course, cleaning the herbs to rid them of any dirt or bugs that have taken up residence on the aromatic leaves. You can see how I clean my herbs here. After cleaning and blotting dry with a paper towel, parsley should be hung upside down. I gathered my stalks into a loose bundle and tied the ends with a plastic hair tie before hanging.
It's also important that the parsley hangs in a mostly humidity-free environment so that it doesn't get moldy.

It's takes about 2-3 weeks for the parsley to dry out completely. Properly dried parsley leaves will appear shriveled and crumbly to the touch. 

Once your parsley is dried, it's time to get to work. 

Use a pair of scissors to trim the leaves off of the stems. You could just as easily pull them off with your fingers.

Once the leaves are removed, place them into an air-tight jar, like a mason jar. You have two options here: (1) store the leaves whole and chop them right before cooking or (2) chop them now and save yourself a step later. The benefit of storing the leaves whole is that you will get more flavor our of the leaves by chopping them right before use.

I wanted to save myself a step later, so I chopped my parsley before storing. 

I've discovered that the fastest and easiest way to chop fresh or dried herbs is by putting a handful of them at a time into the bottom of a glass and using a pair of clean scissors to snip away the leaves until they are minced in appearance.

Once your leaves are all chopped, place them in an air-tight container and store them in a cool, dry place. Dried parsley will maintain it's flavor for over a year if stored properly. 
 
Happy Drying, 

 

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